Mercy Passes Important Step in Approval of ED

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August 8, 2008

Mercy Hospital of Buffalo has moved an important step closer to breaking ground on a new state-of-the-art Emergency Department with yesterday’s approval by the New York State Hospital Review and Planning Council in Albany. Catholic Health and Mercy Hospital administrators are now moving forward with plans to begin the $32 million construction project. A groundbreaking is expected later this year.

The construction project features a 46,000 square-foot addition located along the front of the hospital that will triple the size of the current ER facility and continue to enhance emergency services available throughout Catholic Health. Currently operating one of the busiest emergency departments in the region, Mercy Hospital is responding to a critical community need for expanded emergency services. Emergency room visits have steadily increased in recent years, with over 37,000 patients seeking care at the hospital in 2007 and another 30,000 at the Mercy Ambulatory Care Center in Orchard Park. Along with Kenmore Mercy, Sisters and St. Joseph hospitals, Catholic Health is a major provider of emergency care in the region serving nearly 140,000 patients annually.
“We would like to thank the New York State Department of Health for working with us to create this much needed facility to expand and enhance emergency services at Mercy Hospital,” said Joseph McDonald, CHS President and CEO. “The project has been in the planning stages for quite some time as we’ve seen Mercy’s ER volume rise significantly in recent years. We are ready to move quickly once the approval process is complete.”

The new addition will change the hospital’s facade along Abbott Road in Buffalo for the first time since it moved to its present location from Tift Street in 1928. When completed, the new ER will feature 34 private patient treatment rooms, including three airborne isolation rooms, and two cardiac/trauma resuscitation rooms, along with expanded space for physician staff, nursing and support services.

“The new ER will be a great community benefit for the thousands of patients we serve each year,” said C.J. Urlaub, President and CEO of Mercy Hospital. “Now, we will be able to continue to offer our patients the latest advances in equipment and technology in a world-class facility that matches the high quality care we currently provide, creating a more pleasant and healing environment.”

The new ER at Mercy is the second major Emergency Department construction project and largest undertaking of its kind for Catholic Health. In 2005, Catholic Health opened a new Emergency Department at St. Joseph Hospital in Cheektowaga, providing a model for high quality care and service delivery for other emergency department renovations and improvements within the health system.

“We learned a lot from St. Joseph Hospital’s ER success and will replicate many of the process and design features that have resulted in more efficient care and better service,” said Dr. Richard Elman, Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Mercy Hospital. “Our overall design goal is to create a facility that offers greater flexibility in more comfortable, patient-friendly surroundings to provide our patients with the best possible care in the shortest possible time.”

In order to provide patients with the safest and most comfortable ER experience possible, Mercy Hospital is designing the new ER with input from teams of physicians and staff with special attention to providing patient-centered care. With a focus on employing the latest technology available, the facility will offer expedited nurse triage, ambulance triage in rooms, bedside registration, and other processes to improve the patient care experience.

The exterior design incorporates plenty of green space and gardens to complement the Olmsted-designed Cazenovia Park located across the street from the hospital. A row of windows in the addition will allow for natural, soothing light in the treatment rooms. Other features of the new Mercy facility include a main lobby with a spacious waiting area, vestibule, medical offices and support space.

The construction project will not disrupt current ER services. “Given the size and scope of our emergency services, it was critical that we not interrupt our current operations,” Urlaub continued. “This new construction, separate from our existing Emergency Department, will enable us to maintain full service to our patients throughout the project.”
Serving Buffalo and Southern Erie County, Mercy Hospital is a Center of Excellence for Cardiac Care and offers state-of-the-art imaging technologies and robotically assisted surgery services. The hospital is a New York State-designated Stroke Center and is home to the CHS Heart Center offering open heart surgery and a full range of specialized cardiac care services.

“We appreciate the hard work of all our staff who made it possible to reach this stage of the project,” Urlaub said. “We also want to thank our patients and their families for continuing to entrust Mercy Hospital with their care. We have gone through many changes in the past few years, transforming Mercy into one of the premier health care facilities in Western New York. This significant investment is another example of our ongoing commitment to provide our community with the highest quality care and service.”